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Party-list solon files motion for reconsideration on NBN-ZTE case

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A party-list lawmaker filed a motion for reconsideration (MR) on Monday with the Office of the Ombudsman, asking that the graft charges against former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo be amended.

"In our MR, we want the Ombudsman to include the case of plunder in the case they filed at the Sandiganbayan against GMA, former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, Benjamin Abalos and Leandro Mendoza. We totally disagree with the Ombudsman's position that the witnesses cannot tend to prove that money changed hands," said Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino.

Casino said the testimony of witness Dante Madriaga alone clearly established the fact that money indeed changed hands during the signing of the NBN-ZTE contract.
"From the testimony of Madriaga, it clearly shows he has personal knowledge of the fact that GMA received kickbacks from ZTE during the signing of the contract, since GMA herself confirmed to him the delivery of the US$ 30 million," he said.

"Also we want all of them to be charged with violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act by receiving money to facilitate the deal, thereby injuring public interest, by entering in a deal that is tremendously overpriced," he added.

Casino said the actual cost of ZTE’s proposal for the national broadband (NBN) project was only US$ 130 million, but was later repriced to US$ 262 million, covering only 30 percent of the country.

On the other hand, he said the Amsterdam Holding Inc.'s unsolicited proposal would only cost US$ 240 million and would cover about 80 percent of the country.

In the motion filed by Casino, together with Makabayan vice president Liza Maza and Bayan chairperson Carol Araullo, they also want former Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza charged for violating the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standard for Public Officials by soliciting and accepting gifts in the course of the deal from the Chinese owners of ZTE.

Casino said the original complaint they filed with the Ombudsman already had sufficient evidence to show that Mrs. Arroyo herself received at least US$ 30 million from the ZTE Corp. as alleged by at least one witness who had personal knowledge of the fact.

The amount, he said, "is different from the US$ 41 million in advances that the so-called 'Filipino group' composed of GMA, former FG Mike Arroyo, Abalos and Mendoza received before the signing of the contract."

"We hope that our motion for reconsideration would be granted by the Ombudsman so that GMA and her cohorts would be punished to the full extent of their sins against the people on this case," the Bayan Muna party-list lawmaker said.

If granted, he said, "this will also serve as a good precedent on the other cases to be filed against her."

By PNA/PIA9-ZBST




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